Marine biologist and an expert on invasive species in the Pacific Dr. John Chapman of HMSC says the “log” that washed up on Nye Beach, just south of the turnaround, is indeed a five year cross-Pacific traveler and tsunami refugee. Chapman says it was catapulted east from the shores of Japan on that fateful day in March of 2011 when a big earthquake and tsunami smashed ashore in the Sendai Prefecture northeast of Tokyo.
And the debris keeps coming…with more invasive species to inspect, label and place in jars. The rest is just buried in the sand where it became it’s final resting place.
Here’s what HMSC’s invasive species expert Dr. Chapman told us about this latest report and find.
The tree is partially buried. The exposed parts are densely covered with the pelagic goose barnacle, Lepas (no surprise). However, I found what appears to be the introduced Asian mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis poking through the mess of Lepas here and there. I collected 13 in about 15 minutes. Very likely there are more. I will try to go back tomorrow.
Here are my pictures. The mussels are apparent in the first two photos. Most of the mussels were found by palpating the soupy covering of Lepas.
I suspect it is a tree from Asia and possibly from the 2011 Japanese tsunami. Its shape is similar to a black shore pine. I will collect wood and hope one day we can find out.
Anyone who finds unusual objects coming ashore on the Oregon Coast, (especially with Japanese writing on it!) are cordially invited to contact Dr. Chapman at his lab at the Hatfield Marine Science Center at South Beach. His number is 541-867-3258 or 541-961-3258.